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After two-day weather delay, schools complete statewide tornado drill
Event was part of Georgia's Severe Weather Awareness Week
Xitlaly Cortez, center, looks up during the tornado drill at New Holland Core Knowledge Academy Friday. With Xitlaly are pre-K classmates Dean Soriano, left, and Kevin Corona. - photo by Tom Reed


Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle talks about the need for businesses to also recognize the best places to take cover during severe weather

With nary a cloud in the sky, Friday morning’s tornado drill went off as planned.

The statewide drill, originally set for Wednesday, was postponed because of the threat of severe weather.

Hard rain and some brisk winds did move through the Gainesville-Hall County area Wednesday, but weather conditions improved later in the day.

Friday’s drill took place in area schools between 9:10 and 9:30 a.m.

Deana Sanders, prekindergarten teacher at New Holland Core Knowledge Academy in Gainesville, prepared her students for the event.

"Get down next to a wall and get down on your knees," she said. "Don’t get up until we say it’s OK to get up."

She had to move her class to a neighboring classroom during the drill because her classroom has windows.

Second-grader Deonte Evans, 8, and third-grader Alicia Ibarra, 9, said the drill wasn’t frightening to them. Both said they appreciated the experience.

"If this a real (event) and we didn’t do it right, we could get hurt," said Deonte.

Added Alicia: "I feel like we’re doing the right thing, what we need to do when there’s a tornado."

The drill was part of the National Weather Service’s annual Georgia Severe Weather Awareness Week.

Residents can get information about topics such as family preparedness, lightning safety and flooding from the National Weather Service’s Peachtree City Web site at

Drills typically take place in schools, but Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle said that Hall County Fire Services encourages businesses to instruct employees on evacuation areas in the event of threatening weather.

Hall County, after all, is prone to getting more than its share of tornadoes, he said.

Cagle said, "We do get calls throughout the year from business owners, and we’ll go out and do a site survey and tell them where the best places (to take cover are)."

A business that wants a weather safety survey can call Hall Emergency Management Agency coordinator William Wright at 770-531-6838.

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